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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:27 am 
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Folks

I recently acquired an Audio Technica OC9 MK2... It was an eBay item I bought for a really good price with just a stock photo and description saying "Packaging was Damaged". But, the price was too ridiculous to pass up, and the seller said they did not have access to the item as it was in a warehouse, and thus couldn't tell me if it was working or not.

I sort of assumed it was a retailer that had gotten reimbursed for a broken package, perhaps? Long story short, it came, and looked brand new and unopened. I know that the MK2 is probably several years old and is likely older stock? All the bits were there and everything.

But, my reason for this post is that I am looking for recommendations as I currently do not have a LOMC compatible phono stage, or a step up transformer. I am patient, and I don't want to spend a lot of cash.

I currently own a Graham Slee Era Gold phono, so, something that would work with this, but likely not the elevator, as I just don't have the cash. I also own a Yaqin tube phono, but I think that would be the less wise choice given that it is noisier (not a lot of noise) than the Slee...

I don't know for sure if this cart is in fact in working condition, as I cannot test it. So, I had contemplated maybe a Pro-Ject Phono with the MC capability, as they are fairly cheap. But, I do want something that would be a good match for the OC9. I would imagine they are characteristic of AT sound, somewhat analytical, but I want to bring out the best in this cart. Likely will be mounted to a RB250 on a Michell tecnodec?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:52 am 
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If by 'elevator' you mean you don't want to purchase an SUT, then your solution would be to sell the Slee and purchase a MM/MC phono stage. Lehmann Black Cube SE would be an excellent choice and probably a net exchange on the used market or some cash left over.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:54 am 
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Check out Lounge Audio out of the USA. He's a one man & spouse operation that is getting rave reviews for his phono stages. I'm thinking of springing for his MM stage at $300 USD.

http://www.loungeaudio.com/copla is $270.00 USD.

I believe he also has a home trial with a small re-stocking fee if you return it.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:02 am 
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No, sorry, I am open to SUT and LOMC standalone phonos, but I mean I didn't want to spend the cash for a Graham Slee Elevator, which is their SUT. As it costs as much as a Era Gold... And I just don't have the cash to spend on one of them at the moment. It would probably be the ideal match, and I figure some people may point that out. I would probably like to go that route, but don't want to front that cash if it turns out the cart is in fact busted internally.

I would also be open to decent integrateds with MM/MC input, as I've half been contemplating getting a better amp. Currently running a Rotel RA-2 which sounds better than I expected, hence the reason it's still in the chain. Which also has a MM input, so a step up would work here as well. Used is the most viable option, IMO. Would like something with loading adjustments if possible.

Che Cavolo wrote:
If by 'elevator' you mean you don't want to purchase an SUT, then your solution would be to sell the Slee and purchase a MM/MC phono stage. Lehmann Black Cube SE would be an excellent choice and probably a net exchange on the used market or some cash left over.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:43 am 
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I bought a used OC9ML II a while ago on CAM to use with my Gryo / TechnoArm combo. I am using a Simaudio Moon LP3 phono stage. I am quite pleased with it and would recommend it with no problem (or the newer 110LP). They come up used for around 300 give or take. It certainly is not the be all end all for settings compared to some stages but it seems to work fine for me.
Cheers
jp


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:57 am 
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J.P.

This is great info to know. I've seen some of these around and would definitely be in the running. I'm not so concerned about settings, except that I would like to try different settings, as I hear the OC9 can have some high frequency shrillness or sharpness that some people dislike. Some have said loading could tame this? If the phono stage doesn't offer this, it'd probably render the cart harsh to listen to perhaps?

I found using my Dynavector HOMC on my Slee was a bad choice. It never sounded very good at all. Thus, I went back to MM on that setup. Some had mentioned soldering resistors to the RCA plugs, but I didn't go that deep into it as the Dv sounded really good on the built in phono of my Rotel. I liked it on my Yaqin. But, I think the Yaqin needs the voltage of MM to give the best results.

I've heard of the Budgie as well for a Step Up. From what I gather, steps ups are good as they tend to have a lower noise floor potentially? In their early days LOMC phono stages were noisier than MM ones, but in combo with a step up you would get the benefit of lower noise, plus the increase in voltage?

I feel that the Slee is a very quiet phono, and might be ideal to use with a step up? Not saying I wouldn't get the Moon to try! Anybody know if it'd be worth getting a Pro Ject Phono Box with MC to test the cart and see if it works?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:04 am 
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therealco wrote:
No, sorry, I am open to SUT and LOMC standalone phonos, but I mean I didn't want to spend the cash for a Graham Slee Elevator, which is their SUT.
I picked up a Choir Audio SUT-H last year and I love it!! The Choir Audio has Hashimoto transformers and sounds wonderful in my system. I tried a K&K SUT with Lundahl transformers and wasn't a good match for my cart. I'm not sure what you're budget is, I bought mine used here on CAM, I believe I paid about $625 or $650. I think the Choir Audio is worthy of looking into. Good luck in your search.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:33 am 
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therealco wrote:
Folks

I recently acquired an Audio Technica OC9 MK2... It was an eBay item I bought for a really good price with just a stock photo and description saying "Packaging was Damaged". But, the price was too ridiculous to pass up, and the seller said they did not have access to the item as it was in a warehouse, and thus couldn't tell me if it was working or not.

I sort of assumed it was a retailer that had gotten reimbursed for a broken package, perhaps? Long story short, it came, and looked brand new and unopened. I know that the MK2 is probably several years old and is likely older stock? All the bits were there and everything.

But, my reason for this post is that I am looking for recommendations as I currently do not have a LOMC compatible phono stage, or a step up transformer. I am patient, and I don't want to spend a lot of cash.

I currently own a Graham Slee Era Gold phono, so, something that would work with this, but likely not the elevator, as I just don't have the cash. I also own a Yaqin tube phono, but I think that would be the less wise choice given that it is noisier (not a lot of noise) than the Slee...

I don't know for sure if this cart is in fact in working condition, as I cannot test it. So, I had contemplated maybe a Pro-Ject Phono with the MC capability, as they are fairly cheap. But, I do want something that would be a good match for the OC9. I would imagine they are characteristic of AT sound, somewhat analytical, but I want to bring out the best in this cart. Likely will be mounted to a RB250 on a Michell tecnodec?


The OC9 outputs .4mv. Depending on the gain of your Graham phono stage and the gain of your line level preamp, you could be OK without a step up. I run .05mv Hana and Lyra Delos with my Audio Research SP14 no problem. Built in MM phono stage is only 46dB but line stage is 20dB so overall gain is 66dB.
You could try it and see if it works. It may not be optimal but it won't hurt anything. You save the cost (and avoid the sonic degradation) of a extra transformer and set of interconnects in the signal path.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:35 am 
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Here's a very nice MC phono stage - an Aragon 47K for $450: http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649363509-aragon-47k-phono-stage/

It has 3 levels of gain (37, 47 and 57 dB) and cartridge loading resistance values at 47K, 1K, 330, 100, 47 and 25 Ω.

Not sure if that fits into your budget but it is a stellar performer.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:30 pm 
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Very interesting. Thank you for the link to the Aragon. Fairly close to the budget, if I stretch just a little bit.

I've read a lot of polarizing info on the OC9... Many say its too bright, but a good tracker.

Others say that is not true and is likely not setup properly, or is a poor match for the phono stage. And that it is actually a neutral sounding cart that tracks excellent. They say these things for the MK1, 2 and 3... Its odd..


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:37 pm 
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therealco wrote:
Very interesting. Thank you for the link to the Aragon. Fairly close to the budget, if I stretch just a little bit.

I've read a lot of polarizing info on the OC9... Many say its too bright, but a good tracker.

Others say that is not true and is likely not setup properly, or is a poor match for the phono stage. And that it is actually a neutral sounding cart that tracks excellent. They say these things for the MK1, 2 and 3... Its odd..


On the bright side with the OC9/MLII you do get a solid boron cantilever and a microline stylus. The latter requires a good setup to get the best from the cart - it will give you detail. And the cartridge specs are pretty good. Mine is the quietest cart I've tried in terms of groove noise. I've also run mine on an RB300 and Audiomods arms, so I doubt any issue with your RB250.

AT recommends loading at 20 ohms or higher, and for my system I go as low as I can with a 30 ohm setting. Which is heavily loading the cart but I don't have a brightness complaint. I think I started with 100 ohm and worked down to get the result I preferred in my system.

Have not tried an SUT with this, just the Phonomena II which is fairly flexible in terms of gain and loading.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:51 pm 
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airdronian wrote:
On the bright side with the OC9/MLII you do get a solid boron cantilever and a microline stylus. The latter requires a good setup to get the best from the cart - it will give you detail. And the cartridge specs are pretty good. Mine is the quietest cart I've tried in terms of groove noise. I've also run mine on an RB300 and Audiomods arms, so I doubt any issue with your RB250.

AT recommends loading at 20 ohms or higher, and for my system I go as low as I can with a 30 ohm setting. Which is heavily loading the cart but I don't have a brightness complaint. I think I started with 100 ohm and worked down to get the result I preferred in my system.

Have not tried an SUT with this, just the Phonomena II which is fairly flexible in terms of gain and loading.


Excellent news to know. Yes, my RB250 also has been some sort of rewire probably from Michell, along with the ground wire and finger nut for VTA adjustment as this is likely critical for the microline stylus. I also have the Tecnoweight and a Kerry titanium weight to fool around with. Listening to my Dynavector 10x today though, I wonder how could it sound any better than this? So, I am hoping for good results. As you say, loading will probably be key to get the best performance. Do SUTs allow for loading changes?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:01 pm 
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therealco wrote:
airdronian wrote:
On the bright side with the OC9/MLII you do get a solid boron cantilever and a microline stylus. The latter requires a good setup to get the best from the cart - it will give you detail. And the cartridge specs are pretty good. Mine is the quietest cart I've tried in terms of groove noise. I've also run mine on an RB300 and Audiomods arms, so I doubt any issue with your RB250.

AT recommends loading at 20 ohms or higher, and for my system I go as low as I can with a 30 ohm setting. Which is heavily loading the cart but I don't have a brightness complaint. I think I started with 100 ohm and worked down to get the result I preferred in my system.

Have not tried an SUT with this, just the Phonomena II which is fairly flexible in terms of gain and loading.


Excellent news to know. Yes, my RB250 also has been some sort of rewire probably from Michell, along with the ground wire and finger nut for VTA adjustment as this is likely critical for the microline stylus. I also have the Tecnoweight and a Kerry titanium weight to fool around with. Listening to my Dynavector 10x today though, I wonder how could it sound any better than this? So, I am hoping for good results. As you say, loading will probably be key to get the best performance. Do SUTs allow for loading changes?


You should be in good shape with a Technoweight and some VTA adjustability. I used a 10x5 for a couple of years before I tried LOMC. Once I switched back to the Dyna after a while of LOMC and the AT in particular. It was noisier and with less detail and I went straight back to the LOMC. The Dyna was what kept me on the vinyl path after being really underwhelmed with the Ortofon 2M Red that I started back with. YMMV and all that.

I *think* some SUT's offer a couple of ratios to choose from but I'm really not a good source for information on this. They are quite specific in their applications as I understand it. There's others around here who know much more about integrating an SUT.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:54 pm 
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airdronian wrote:
You should be in good shape with a Technoweight and some VTA adjustability. I used a 10x5 for a couple of years before I tried LOMC. Once I switched back to the Dyna after a while of LOMC and the AT in particular. It was noisier and with less detail and I went straight back to the LOMC. The Dyna was what kept me on the vinyl path after being really underwhelmed with the Ortofon 2M Red that I started back with. YMMV and all that.

I *think* some SUT's offer a couple of ratios to choose from but I'm really not a good source for information on this. They are quite specific in their applications as I understand it. There's others around here who know much more about integrating an SUT.


I had a 2M Red before getting the Dyna. Despised it. Always poor tracking, possibly due to alignment on the stock deck that it came with. Dyna was like night and day difference. Also had a Rega Exact that tracked fairly well, but not very lively sounding. Tried a Denon DL 110 and thought it was worse than the Dyna... But I think after it opened up a bit, I was on the fence whether it was worse or better than the Dyna. Tried SoundSmith Otello and didn't really like it... One last ditch effort before I spent any money on LOMC and step up or stand alone phono. It's good to hear you have good experiences with this. I have a feeling I will like it when I finally figure out what I'm going to do in terms of equipment now...


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:35 pm 
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A bargain cartridge at an even bigger bargain cuz the box was damaged? How come I never find deals like this? :wink:

I had an OC9/II on my modded 250 and was quite impressed with it. The SUT is an Audio Interface (40 ohms, I think), and one of the arm mods includes a headshell damper that raises the EM a few grams. The OC9 was not embarrassed by some of the (much more) expensive offerings I've put on that arm, though admittedly, the arm might've limited those offering's potential. Nonetheless, good fun and great bang for the buck. Only reason that cartridge is so cheap is because a huge Japanese company is making it. You'd pay much more for the same from a boutique manufacturer.

My recommendation based on my experience, is an SUT and with a higher mass arm. Don't have a lot of experience with SUTs other than the one I have. I did try it on another system with a low mass arm and active head amp but wasn't nearly as impressed; sound was thin and bright...the usual criticism of the AT sound.

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